Every New Year, we look to the future with glimmers of hope in our eyes. The possibilities of tomorrow are limitless, and it’s a wonder what new invention, discovery or idea will unveil itself in the impending year. It’s a third of the way through this new year, so we’re pretty settled in. Already we’re seeing advances in various fields: In medical technology, the implantable bioartificial kidney is set to start clinical trials sometime this year.

In marketing, we’ll see changes that affect how we do our jobs; it happens every year. First it was the Internet, then mobile devices, then smart mobile devices, and social media. Now, we’re seeing an increase in home assistant devices (Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Apple HomePod) and other new, exciting inventions that are changing how consumers live—and how we reach them.

Here are four things to expect in 2018 and the years to come.

Personalization with Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence has been a hot topic the past few years in regard to how it will change marketing. While AI in marketing has yet to reach its full potential, we’ve seen some advances as far as personalization of content. Last year, Demandbase launched the first AI-based website personalization solution. Says Chris Golec, founder and CEO,

“There are literally millions of paths potential buyers can go through on a B2B website to reach a conversion, making it impossible for marketers to optimize for each customer. We are leap frogging web site personalization as we know it today by using artificial intelligence to synthesize billions of data points so we can lead accounts and individuals to the right content.”

AI makes it easier to personalize because it saves marketers time. Instead of having to create manual rules, AI can be even more precise in terms of suggesting content that will create more interaction—and action, such as signing up for a newsletter or requesting more information.

In addition to website personalization, the possibilities for AI in marketing are endless. It can deliver individualized experiences to maximize your lead potential or help us better understand the data we collect. In early January, it was reported that Amazon is looking into advertising through Amazon Echo. What other changes will we see through AI?

We’ll just have to wait.

Augmented Reality and Social Media

If you haven’t yet explored augmented reality as part of your marketing efforts, now is the time. While augmented reality is nothing new, it is becoming more of a presence in our everyday lives. Many of us predominantly use AR on Snapchat, using a filter to place a dancing hot dog on our desk or make it look you and your friend have dog ears. Facebook also offers filters as part of its camera on the platform.

But we are only at the beginning. We may begin to see other social media platforms adopt this technology, opening new paths for marketers to pursue. It could evolve the type of content we currently offer, allowing us to more deeply connect with our consumers. Clothing brands could let users “try on” products and direct them to make the purchase. And much like suggested content, brands could post sponsored AR content based on a user’s location.

More Online and Offline Integration

We’ll see a stronger integration of online and offline experiences, where the two not only enhance each other but become one all-encompassing experience. In 2011, Coldplay held a concert that incorporated an Online Art Installation. Prior to the event, fans could create a butterfly online, which would then be featured as part of the Installation. It was an integrated way for fans—especially those who would be unable to attend in person—to experience the show.

This integration will become natural to the discipline, so it’s best for your team to learn how to successfully execute these types of experiences now. Plus, we’ll see advanced technology and new features in everything from phones to social media that will help make this integration more seamless and exciting.

Increased Focus on Voice Marketing

With the rise of smart home devices that use AI—voice-based assistants like Amazon Echo, smart bulbs like Philips Hue, and smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors like Nest Protect—marketers will need to re-think how they do business. With a stronger reliance on voice assistance on our phones—and now on everything else in our lives, including cars and refrigerators—marketers will need to generate content that targets these searches.

While traditional searches might use queries like “best running shoes” or “top resorts in Puerto Vallarta Mexico,” voice searches tend to use full sentences:

• “Hey Siri, what’s a recipe for chicken parmesan?”
• “Ok Google, how many miles is it from Chicago to San Francisco?”
• “Alexea, what are the best running shoes?”

Sentences can be more complex, but they also use more natural phrases (compare “luxury apartment Chicago IL” to “luxury apartments in Chicago, Illinois”).

In 2018, you’ll want to look more at optimizing for voice search, so Siri, Google, Alexa, and other AIs can return the best results (i.e. you) for users searching through voice.

A Brave New World

Artificial Intelligence is one of the biggest subjects in tech right now, but who can say where it will finally end up and what—if anything—will take its place in the following decades? From word of mouth advertisements to billboards along highways to magazine spreads and the first digital ad, marketers have learned how to adapt to and utilize the latest mediums. We’re excited to see where the next wave of communication takes us.